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Do you need Health Care Insurance?

GreatFlorida Insurance is committed to helping Floridians make informed decisions about their health care. Health insurance is designed to protect individuals and families from the high costs of health care.

Whether you are facing a pre-existing health condition, an emergency situation or just want preventative and wellness care, health insurance will pay part of your costs.

GreatFlorida Insurance offers coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, also known as Florida Blue.

We can help clear up any confusion about recent health reform, the Affordable Care Act, (ACA) and answer any of your questions concerning health care.

How does health insurance work?

Your health insurance plan is a contract between you and your insurance company.

You pay a monthly bill called a premium for the health plan and the insurance company agrees to pay part of the costs for covered medical services.

Blue Cross Blue Shield has four levels of coverage, bronze, silver, gold and platinum.

The plans have varying costs and coverage to meet your needs and budget. Another option includes a Catastrophic Plan for single people under 30 who qualify through financial hardships.

GreatFlorida Insurance can help you understand your choice of plans and options for health care through Florida Blue.

We will help you apply for and enroll in a plan that works best for you.

Affordable Care Act

In March 2010, President Obama signed into law, comprehensive health reform, Affordable Care Act, (ACA). The law makes preventative care more accessible and affordable for many Americans.

The health care law is designed to provide better benefits and expanding coverage while creating a stronger Medicare program.

What if I do not get health insurance in 2014?

If you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it, you will be penalized and must pay a fee. The fee in 2014 is 1 percent of your yearly income or $95 per person for the year, whichever is higher.

The fee increases every year. In 2016 it is 2.5 percent of income or $695 per person, whichever is higher. In 2014 the payment for uninsured children is $47.50 per child.

New Options Include:

Floridians can find out if they are eligible for lower costs for private insurance or health programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, (CHIP) and enroll in health coverage.

Parents can keep their children on their health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old.

Insurers can no longer deny coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions such as asthma or diabetes.

In 2014, health insurers will no longer be able to charge more or deny coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition.

Health insurance companies now have to spend at least 80 cents of your premium dollar on health care or improvements to care or provide you with a refund.

Insurance companies are required to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10 percent or more.

Insurance companies are banned from imposing lifetime dollar limits on health benefits. The law also restricts the use of annual limits and bans them completely in 2014.

Preventative services such as colonoscopy screening for colon cancer, Pap smears and mammograms for women, well-child visits and flu shots for all children and adults, will be covered with no deductible or co-pay required.

Increases funding to community health centers

Strengthens Medicare Program

Increasing coverage for brand name and generic drugs

No deductibles or co-pays for preventative services seniors and people with disabilities

Extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by ten years

Simply call 888-478-7801 or complete our online quote request form. A GreatFlorida Health Care Insurance Agent in Florida will help you find the best deal for you.

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Healthcare Insurance Florida Blog
by GreatFlorida Insurance
4/10/2019

Millions of households across the U.S. own a dog. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reminds us, any dog can bite, if provoked. Half of all dog bites involve a dog owned by the victim’s family or neighbor.

Approximately, 4 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). They also report, about 800,000 require medical attention. Children are usually the victims, 44 percent are under 14 years-old.

“In Florida, if your dog bites someone even if it is a first-time occurrence, the owner is held liable,” reports Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance agency. Florida is a “strict liability” state regarding dog bites. This means a dog owner is liable for any damage to a person, even a non-bite injury.

A report by the Insurance Information Institute (III), reveals, Florida had 1,281 dog bites or other dog related injury claims last year, second only to California. Over $56 million was paid out in Florida with the average cost per claim being $43,893.

The report also notes a trend in higher costs per claim being attributable not only to dog bites but also to dogs knocking down children, cyclists, the elderly, etc., which can result in injuries that impact the potential severity of the losses.

Dog bites and other dog related injuries accounted for nearly a third of the money paid out in 2018 for homeowner liability claims, totaling $675 million nationally.

Homeowners insurance and renter’s insurance policies generally cover dog bite liability legal expenses,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.

Each insurer is responsible for checking into their liability limits. The dog owner is responsible for damages that exceed claim limits.

Whether you own or rent your home, insurance should be a priority to protect your family and belongings. GreatFlorida Insurance works with reputable insurance companies to provide dependable homeowners insurance and renters insurance at affordable prices. For more information go online to www.greatflorida.com or call us today.

The post Florida Ranks Among the Top for Dog Bites appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
4/3/2019

“Proper disposal of medications can prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent health insurance agency.

According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, most abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends. They usually come from the home medicine cabinet.

The best way to dispose of expired or unused medication is through the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sponsored, National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. They seek to provide an anonymous, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs. Saturday, April 27, will be the next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

The DEA reports, the last take back day brought in more than 900,000 pounds of unused or expired medication.

Responsibly getting rid of unwanted medications can protect you, your family and the environment, reports the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

  • It prevents the poisoning of children and pets.
  • Deters misuse by teens and adults.
  • Avoids health problems associated with taking the wrong medicine, or medicine that is too old and no longer effective.
  • Keeps medicines from entering streams and rivers.

In homes that use septic tanks, prescription and OTC drugs flushed can leach into the groundwater. In areas with wastewater treatment plants, prescription and OTC drugs poured down the sink or flushed can pass through the treatment system and enter rivers and lakes. They may flow downstream to serve as sources for community drinking water supplies. Water treatment plants are generally not equipped to routinely remove medicines.

However, the Food and Drug Administration still recommends flushing Oxycodone, Fentanyl, and a couple of dozen other drugs, so they cannot be fished out of the trash.

“Those medications are considered a lethal threat to others,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent health insurance agency.

The following link provides a  list of medications to be flushed.

If you cannot make it to the next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, some Walgreens and CVS locations, have a kiosk to dispose of unwanted medications.

To dispose of medications at home, use the following instructions:

  • Mix medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, cat litter, or used coffee grounds
  • Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag
  • Throw the container in your household trash
  • Delete all personal information on the prescription label of empty pill bottles or medicine packaging, then dispose of the container.

GreatFlorida Insurance has experienced agents that can offer you and your family quality health insurance policies to fit your needs. Call us at 888-478-7801 or go online to www.greatflorida.com for a free quote today.

 

The post Medicine Disposal appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
3/13/2019

Recently in Pasco County, some inmates helped rescue a baby locked inside a vehicle. The parents of the child accidentally locked her in the car, leaving their keys on the front seat. A Pasco County Sheriff’s Office Inmate supervisor and five low-risk offenders repairing a parking lot meridian nearby offered to help. With a coat hanger and a special, “skill set” the inmates were able to open the door and retrieve the child.

“Thankfully the parents realized immediately the baby was in the car,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent car insurance agency.

While it seems unfathomable, people leave their children behind in the car several times a year. In 2018, over 50 children died in hot cars according to safety advocacy website, Kidsandcars.org.

The website highlights University of South Florida Psychology Professor, David Diamond’s work on why people forget and leave a child behind in a car. He explains it has to do with the complex functions of the brain. He states that the problem is the failure of prospective memory, the process by which the brain remembers to do something in the future. Professor Diamond says, “The brain memory systems that fail when people forget children in cars are the same as those systems that cause us to forget to shut off the headlights when we arrive at a destination.”

Several brain processes are involved with leaving a child in the car. Many factors can disrupt these processes such as stress, interruptions, multitasking, and sleep deprivation. Also, Professor Diamond points out, the lack of visual or verbal reminders increase the chance of a child being left in the car.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports heatstroke is one of the leading causes of non-crash-related fatalities among children. When a child is left in a hot car, their temperature can rise quickly.

“Children suffer heatstroke even if they are left in the car for a few minutes,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent car insurance agency.

Children are vulnerable to heatstroke. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the following are some facts about kids and heatstroke.

Kids aren’t built for heat: A child’s body temperatures rises 3-5 times faster than an adult.

Every minute counts: The temperature of a car can climb 20 degrees in 20 minutes.

It doesn’t have to be hot: Heatstroke can occur in the shade, with the windows down, and even at temperatures as low as 57 degrees.

The post Children Left in Cars appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
3/6/2019

You are in pain. You reach for some pain-reliever only to notice it’s expired. Do you still take it?

“It is a good idea to conduct an annual inventory of your medication,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency.

Since 1979, the U.S. Drug and Food Administration (FDA) has required an expiration date on all over-the-counter medication.

According to the FDA, “Drug expiration dates reflect the time period during which the product is known to remain stable, which means it retains its strength, quality, and purity when it is stored according to its labeled storage conditions.”

However, the FDA conducted a study finding 90% of more than 100 drugs, prescription and OTC were good to use even 15 years after the expiration date. While taking medication past the expiration date, cannot guarantee full potency, most of the effectiveness is retained.

Proper storage can help medication can retain its strength. Placing drugs in a cool, dry environment such as the refrigerator, will extend its shelf life. If left in a hot environment, such as your car, some drugs degrade rapidly.

Consensus among doctors is, expiration dates are very conservative to make sure you get your money’s worth. But, don’t be in a hurry to ditch your expired medication, save yourself some money. Tablet medication such as ibuprofen (Advil) can remain effective for years after being opened.

“While most meds are fine to use after their expiration date, that doesn’t mean they all are,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent health insurance agency.

The safety of expired meds should be considered. The FDA says of expired medication, “It also may yield toxic compounds, causing consumers to experience unintended side effects.”

Liquid medications deteriorate faster. According to Harvard Medical School you should avoid using the following medications after their expiration date.

  • Tetracycline (this antibiotic loses its effectiveness after expiration, though scientists are still researching this)
  • Nitroglycerin (taken as heart medication)
  • Insulin
  • Liquid antibiotics

GreatFlorida Insurance is committed to helping Floridians stay healthy. Our experienced agents can offer you and your family quality health insurance policies to fit your needs while staying within your budget. Call us at 888-478-7801 or go online to www.greatflorida.com for a free quote today.

GreatFlorida Insurance is a authorized vendor of health insurance for Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

GreatFlorida Insurance is a authorized vendor of health insurance for Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

 

The post What You Should Know About Expired Medication appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
2/27/2019

Longing for an adventure- to get away from the grind? A place with great views, all within your budget. It might be closer than you think.

The RV Industry Association(RVIA) saw record sales for 2017.  More than 10.5 million households own at least one RV. In fact, half of all new sales were to Americans 45 and under.

“This alters the profile of RV travelers being older, retired couples,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s biggest independent RV insurance agency.

The appeal of traveling in an RV includes, the convenience of traveling with kids and pets, unplugging, the outdoors and affordability. Do not think you have to surrender creature comforts because you are camping. RV’s come equipped with satellite TV, hardwood floors, a dishwasher,  a washer and dryer, even a fireplace.

Full-time RV living

Living in an RV is not everyone’s idea of an epic adventure. However, a growing number of Americans are ditching their mortgages for life on the open road. “It might seem crazy to trade your home for an RV but many find it inspiring,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent RV insurance provider.

RVIA reports a million Americans live full-time in RVs. Some RVers choose this lifestyle for financial reasons. However, many are looking for a change. They give reasons that range from spending more time together as a family, or wanting a more simplistic way of living, while they all want to explore the country. Going from place to place and living on the road seems isolating. But many report forming a network of friends within the RV community.

So, how do these  constant travelers make money? Many full-time RVers have jobs that allow them to work from the road. Some are living off their retirement savings and Social Security. The Washington Post reports a variety of options to fund  travels by cleaning campsites, harvesting on farms or vineyards, or filling in as security guards. Also, people find work through word of mouth, on Workapmer News or Facebook groups such as Workampers. Amazon and J.C. Penny are among the companies with programs specifically designed to recruit RVers to help at warehouses during peak holiday season.

If you decide to join the millions who own ad RV, contact GreatFlorida Insurance  for auto insurance and RV insurance.

 

The post RV Life appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.